Large Scale Turbulence in the Atmosphere and Ocean

February 6, 2017 – March 10, 2017 all-day

Lecturer: Joe LaCasce


Week 6, 2017 – Lectures Monday to Friday 10:15 – 13:00

Week 10, 2017 – Lectures Monday to Thurdsay 10:15 – 13:00, Friday 10:15 – 15:00

Registration: HERE (closed)

Registration deadline: January 9th

Enroll as visiting PhD student at UiO: HERE

Course description: The course examines nonlinear motion in the atmosphere and ocean from the perspective of turbulence theory. We begin with a simplified system to illustrate how linear motion becomes chaotic with nonlinearity. Then we examine Kolmogorov’s theory of 3-D turbulence, and its extension to two dimensions. We consider the implications for weather predictability and discuss how geophysical effects (the earth’s rotation, stratification) alter the flows. Then we consider the dispersion of passive tracers, like volcanic ash and spilled oil, in turbulent flows.

Outcomes: The students will learn basic elements in statistics and chaos theory. The student will also learn how nonlinear processes fundamentally affect the dynamics of atmospheric and oceanic flows, in particular by making them unpredictable, requiring statistical descriptions. Nonlinear processes are central to many observed phenomena, such as storm interactions and the transport of heat, pollutants and biological material.

Structure: The course will be held over two weeks, with five lectures the first week and four during the second. Problems will be given out underway, to help the students understand the material. The students will make a final presentation of one or several papers on a topic of interest to them (which is also relevant to the course). There is no exam but studens will give a presentation on the last day. The course has its own compendium; supplemental reading will be suggested.


Lecture 1: Statistics in a nutshell; Fourier transforms

Lecture 2: Chaos in a simplified system

Lecture 3: Energy conservation, triad interactions

Lecture 4: Kolmogorov’s theory for 3-D turbulence

Lecture 5: 2-D turbulence

Day 10: Student presentations